Skip to main content

tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  July 24, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT

9:00 pm
being prevented by the taact. if you have been paying attention to this or to politics in general in the last 20 years, you know one thing for sure. democrats want to raise your taxes and republicans want to cut them. democrats, tax hikers. republicans, tax cutters. democrats, taxes up. republicans, taxes down. so right, that's what we know, right? wrong. republicans do want to cut taxes on rich people. that much is fully true, and democrats want to raise taxes on rich people. that is at least mostly true, and i say mostly for reasons i'll explain in a moment. but when we're talking about poor people, the positions reverse. democrats want to cut taxes on poor people. and republicans at the moment want to raise them. and even the rich people thing isn't so simple because you could argue that democrats and republicans both want to cut taxes on rich people, at least when it comes to their specific plans for how to deal with the
9:01 pm
bush tax cuts. now, before we get into this, i got to be honest with you. it's going to get a little weird. you know how in physics light can be both a particle and a wave? see, we have a cool little physics illustration. in washington, a particularly tax policy change can be both a tax hike and a tax cut. at the same time. crazy, right? the reason for this is a little complicated, but it's not too complicated. and it's important that you know it because the fact that politicians know these numbers, it lets them play a trick on you. they're able to confuse you about what is actually going on with your taxes. so bear with me on this for a second. we're going to get a little bit into the weeds but i promise we'll get right back out of them. all right, so, tax policy right now is weird. and it's weird because huge portions of our tax code are expiring all at once. the bush tax cuts which are worth about $5 trillion over the next decade are set to disappear
9:02 pm
at the end of the year, but they're not the only tax cuts set to expire. they're also the tax cuts that president obama passed in the stimulus and renewed in the 2010 tax deal. things like the expanded child tax credit or the pay roll tax cut, and importantly, these are tax cuts that mostly help lower income americans. they're progressive tax cuts. now, here's a problem this creates. let's say we extend all of the bush tax cuts, every single one of them. what did we just do that? did we just cut taxes by $5 trillion because we hadn't done it? there would have been a $5 billion tax increase? or did we not cut them at all because we extended rates people are paying now? you can make a reasonable argument for either way of looking at it. that is to say you can legitimately argue that a $5 trillion change to the tax code is either the largest tax cut in history or no tax cut at all. that's how weird our tax code is right now.
9:03 pm
but the trick politicians play is they switch back and forth between both ways of looking at it without telling you. republicans say that letting even a dollar of the bush tax cuts expire is a tax incareer. their reasoning is simple. if house hls are paying more than they are now, whatever the reason, taxes have been increased on them. it's clear, they have been consistent on this when it comes to the bush tax cuts. what they haven't done is been consistent when it comes to letting the obama tax cuts expire. is that a tax increase? it gets a little tough to say. yet, if that happens, poor households will be paying more than they are now. or they'll be getting less from the tax code than they are now. citizens for tax justice looked at just two of these expiring obama provisions. the expiration of the expanded earned income tax credit and the expanded child tax credit and when you put them togetherth 13
9:04 pm
million families will face a tax increase on average of more than $800 per family. $800 per family. so how come that's not a tax increase? how come that isn't breaking the republican pledge to not raise taxes? the answer seems to be that if barack obama passed it into law, it is not a tax cut. it is a stimulus. jonathan weisman of the "new york times" got a couple republicans to go on the record about this today. cethen mccarthy, the number three house republican said, quote, the president said if you pass a stimulus, unemployment would never go above 8%. we had a 41-month experience that that isn't true and hasn't been effective. republicans said they want a form of accountability. that's just a string of nonsense right there. it has nothing to do with the question. whateveria wa iia you want to st the stimulus and it's clear it worked and the 8% thing has more to do with how bad the recession was than how bad the stimulus was.
9:05 pm
you cannot aurlg for the tax cuts because they worked so well. that's not the grounds you can use. we spent the 2,000s living under the bush tax cuts and it was one of the worst economic expansions we have ever had. the 1990s with our higher taxes, the democrats want to go back to, were inurgably better. as this graph shows, the very best periods of growth we had have been under high margical tax rates. i am not saying we should go back to those, but that's what mccarthy's argument would suggest, the fact he's not saying we should go back to them suggests he doesn't believe it. on the senate side, a spokeswoman for orrin hatch asks what happened to the failed stimulus being targeted, timely, and temporary? there's something to that argument. democrats did say the stimulus was meant to be temporary. that's why these provisions are set to expire. you know what is funny about that? the extension of the bush tax cuts was also temporary.
9:06 pm
that's why it's expiring too. the reason it got extended in 2010 was the argument the economy was incredibly weak and we couldn't raise taxes on anyone. if the economy remains too weak to raise taxes right now, you can't raise them on the poor who need more help that the wealthy, and if the economy is not too weak and it's time for the extraordinary help we're offering to end, you can also raise taxes on the rich who can bear tax increases better than the poor. now, republicans are having a little bit of trouble here because they want to somehow explain why letting the bush tax cuts expire is a tax increase while letting the obama tax cuts expire isn't. they don't need these gymnastics. they could say this is a brand new tax cut of $5 trillion and it's awesome and you should thank the republicans for being so great and letting the stimulus tax cuts expire isn't a tax increase at all. the problem is that, however, is that then republicans can no longer say democrats want to
9:07 pm
raise taxes on the rich at all because the democratic plan which is to keep the bush tax cuts up to $250,000 of income from expiring means that the rich get a tax cut, too. if you're making a million dollars a year, you get a big tax cut on that first $250,000 on the first quarter of your income. in that world, republicans and democrats both want to cut taxes on the rich. republicans just want to cut them on the rich by much more. now, in the world we live in, the real world, not the washington world, not budget world, here's what we can say with confidence. republicans are very committed to lowering taxes on the rich. but they're willing to let all kinds of tax benefits expire for the poor. and those seem like frankly strange priorities in an economy like the one we're in where the rich are doing very, very well and have recovered quite nicely and the poor are having a very tough time of it. joining us now is bob greenstein, a man who knows these numbers better than just
9:08 pm
about anyone. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> one argument republicans make on the tax credits and benefits, is that some of them is that they go to people who aren't paying federal income taxes at all, due to the deductions in the code and low incomes are just getting a rebate from the government. if you take that away from them, that is not a tax increase. it's a reduction in a kind of spending. do they have a point there? >> we need to understand that these tax credits are in part to offset the payroll tax. it doesn't work administratively, physically, to do the relief within the payroll tax itself, so we use the credits in the income tax to offset the payroll tax, exice tax. >> we should say, the federal income tax is one that a lot of folks don't pay because their incomes aren't high enough. but pretty much everybody with a job pays a payroll tax. and that's not included in the numbers like 50% of people don't
9:09 pm
pay income taxes. >> the 50%, and in a normal year like 40%, are people who don't pay income tax, but only about 15% in a normal economic year don't pay income or payroll tax, and they're not people who get these credits, either. you only get these credits if you're working. and they help offset your payroll tax, often gasoline, exice taxes. we in this country have let the minimum wage and wages in general for people at the bottom of the income scale erode badly. the minimum wage is 20% lower in purchasing power today than in the '60s. the deal policymakers made is they let the minimum wage erode, but they said we'll make up for part of that by supplementing wages through the earned income tax credit. that's part of what it does. some of the very republicans who were saying let this expire, attacking it now, in past years, when there was a big move to raise the minimum wage, all of a sudden they opposed the minimum
9:10 pm
wage and they wanted increases in the earned income credit as a way to beat the minimum income increase. and now we're talking about pulling the rug out on the credits as well. >> let me askia a broad question. i see where the rich are being asked to sacrifice. i see what the democrats, where the rich are being asked to contribute. i see in both the democratic and republican plans, where the poor are asked to sacrifice in terms of programs they rely on like medicaid and food stamps being deeply cut. one thing i don't see is the people in the vast middle, the upper middle class or middle class having much of a role in this budget conversation. and because you have spent so much time on this, i want to ask you if i'm wrong, if i'm missing something. it seems that shared sacrifices come to mean the very poor and very rich, and sort of the broad middle gets held blameless. >> that's certainly the way the tax proposals are laid out. if you look at the people in the
9:11 pm
top, the point you made is right. people who are millionaires under the obama proposal, they still get large tax cuts because they get all of the bush tax cuts on the first $250,000 of their income. for example, for people who make between half a million and a million dollars a year, their average tax cut under obama is $10,500 a year. under the republican proposals, it's eventually over $100,000 a year. meanwhile, we got a mother working full time at the minimum wage, raising two kids. and under the republican proposal, she would lose $1,500 of her child credit. it would be cut from about $1,700 to just $250. so you know, the idea that the obama proposal is upside down because it lets her keep the $1,500 and the people at the top keep $10,000 instead of $100,000, it's not exactly
9:12 pm
soaking the rich. >> not exactly. bob greenstein, president of the center on budget and policy priorities. thank you for your time tonight. >> my pleasure. >> what if the phrase, voter fraud, is itself a fraud? actually, it apparently is according to the perpetrators of the voter fraud fraud. that's next. and tonight's best new thing in the world will come as a sight for extremely sore eyes to anyone watching news in the last week or so. stay tuned. every communications provider is different but centurylink is committed to being a different kind of communications company. ♪ we link people and fortune 500 companies nationwide and around the world. and we will continue to free you to do more and focus on what matters.
9:13 pm
there it is ! there it is ! where ? where ? it's getting away ! where is it ? it's gone. we'll find it. any day can be an adventure. that's why we got a subaru. love wherever the road takes you. wow, there it is.
9:14 pm
this is new york state. we built the first railway, the first trade route to the west,
9:15 pm
the greatest empires. then, some said, we lost our edge. well today, there's a new new york state. one that's working to attract businesses and create jobs. a place where innovation meets determination... and businesses lead the world. the new new york works for business. find out how it can work for yours at nah. [ dennis' voice ] i bet he's got an allstate agent. they can save you up to 30% more by bundling your policies. well his dog's stupid. [ dennis' voice ] poodles are one of the world's smartest breeds. are you in good hands?
9:16 pm
if your google alert for the phrase voter id law and you have a google alert for that, right? has been set for the last couple years, you would think state lench slachers make it more difficult to vote. it's something that happens every year like clockwork. but if your google alert is more than two or three years old, you know knhauts been going on since the 2010 election is historically unprecedented. since 2011, at least 180 bills making it more difficult to vote has been introduced in 41 states. that's a new trend. it's not normal in america in recent years. before the 2006 election in fact, no state, not even one, required you to have a government issued photo id in order to vote. not one state. that particularly strict regulation is a totally new thing. then the 2008 election happened with its unprecedented turnout among minorities and the young and in the 2010 election happened and republicans took
9:17 pm
over control from democrats in 11 state legislatures and almost immediately there after, voter id bills became really, really popular. 16 states have now passed restrictive voter id laws. every single one had a republican-controlled state legislature except for rhode island. they went to the governors and generally speaking the democratic voters vetoed them and the republican governors signed them. that was state one, state, phase two, governors. last year, south carolina made it more difficult to vote, nikki haley said it was one of his signature accomplishments, things she's proudest of even though the justice department struck it down saying it might keep thousands of people from voting. the state objected, it sued the government, and now the case goes to court. earlier this month, the judges hearing the case's scheduled orel arguments for this summer, the state objected saying it
9:18 pm
didn't give people enough time to prepare for the restrictive requirements before the election. voters not possessing a voter id would have a reasonable impediment. the case went forward anyway and despite the dire warning from the state's own lawyers there wouldn't be enough time to implement the law if the case went forward, if the judges rule in the favor, the state is going to proceed with the voting law anyway. the justice department has to sign off on changes to south carolina's voting laws because of the state's less than stellar history with voting rights. this is true for south carolina and a number of other states including texas, which hey, also made voting more difficult and also, hey, was rebuffed by the justice department, which is also now in court waiting for a judge's ruling. according to the doj, there are a million and a half voters in texas who don't have the kind of id the state now requires for
9:19 pm
voting. a million and a half. so far, two states who have seen their voter id laws rejected by the justice department in the last year alone. two doesn't seem like a big number before you realize before texas and south carolina made voting more difficult, the justice department hadn't rejecting a state voting law in 20 years. nothing for 20 years, then in just one year, the department has to do it twoit twice. most of the states under the department of justice's jurisdiction on these things are in the south and it's thanks to the 1965 voter rights act. but there's an ask rsk. they have to get department of justice approval. in new hampshire's republican legislature made it more difficult to vote and the governor vetoed the law and the legislature overroad that, changing the legislation slightly, they went to the justice department for approval. it's now pending. pennsylvania has one of the most
9:20 pm
restrictive voter id laws in the country. that new law that was passed by republican legislature is fought on two fronts. yesterday, we learned the justice department is investigating whether the law disenfranchises voters. if the answer is yes, there department would have to sue the state. pennsylvania is not covered by the voting rights act or the special provisions leading to heightened scrutiny. fighting on the second front begins tomorrow. the aclu is sueing the state on behalf of a 93-year-old voter. she's a great, great grandmother who doesn't have the requisite id. as part of the case, we learned today, the state admits and i'm quoting them here, there have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in pennsylvania and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any investigations or prosecutions in other states. think about that. the whole point of voter id laws is to prevent in-person voter
9:21 pm
fraught. that's the idea, that is the reason they exist. so when the state says there's no evidenc at all ever of in-person voter fraud, doesn't that mean the law keeping the 93-year-old great, great grandmother is maybe about something else? maybe not about preventing fraud? maybe? think progress interviewed a republican wisconsin state legislature yesterday who is a big advocate for his state's new restrictive voter id law. that law is now before the courts. they asked what effect it would have on the presidential election. >> if it were upheld and in place in time for the november election, do you think the polls have shown a pretty razor thin marg margin. do you think it would help romney's campaign here in the state? >> i think we both know that in so far as there is inappropriate things going on, people voting
9:22 pm
inappropriately, are more likely to vote democrat. >> if these protections are in place, the voter id, that might not ultimately help him in a close race? >> right, i think if people cheat, we believe the people who cheat are more likely to vote against us. >> the only catch there, there is no good evidence that people are cheating. but there is good evidence that people who aren't cheating like that 93-year-old great, great grandmother are going to have a much harder time voting for whoever they want to vote for and may not even be able to vote in november. joining us now is nicole austin hillary, director of the d.c. offices at the brennan center, involved in the legal challenge to florida's efforts to restrict third party voters. what does it mean in pennsylvania that they have admitted they don't have any known cases of voter fraud? what does it say about the underlying drive and motivation
9:23 pm
of the law? >> it means there's no there there. when you go to court, we all know you have to have evidence that supports you claims. in pennsylvania, the court is going to want to know what is the evidence that the state has that there is indeed a problem with in-person voter fraud. by way of the stipulation, the state is basically saying to the court, we have no such evidence. so that will greatly benefit the plaintiffs in this case. we don't know what the outcome will be, but this will benefit the plaintiffs. >> for 20 years we haven't had laws like this one that need to be challenged, but is there an understood bar that states have to clear? we do have any sense what the court will be looking at here? >> well, as you mentioned earlier, there are certain states that are covered by section five of the voting rights act. those states have a different set of parameters they have to meet. pennsylvania is not one of those statsz, but pennsylvania is
9:24 pm
covered under section two of the voting rights act. the entire country is. so the department of justice has the ability to look at those states and to insure that they are indeed meeting all of the laws and that they are not discriminating in any way against any individuals with respect to voting. so given that, pennsylvania does indeed have to meet those requirements under section two and they have to insure there's no disparate impact impacting any of the voters in the states and the voters are treated equally. >> you have studied this extensi extensively. is there a case to be made that these laws over time would disproportionately affect minority voters or other groups? >> we have done a couple reports you're probably familiar with. one we did in the fall that outlined all of the various voter law changes throughout the country. and what our report showed is that the individuals, the groups that were going to be gravely
9:25 pm
impacted by the changes included members of minority groups, students, the elderly, the poor. so we do think that there is a great deal of documentation out there that would show that there will be a disproportionately negative impact on those groups of individuals. >> what would you tell voters who are worried whether or not they have the right id or are hoping they won't even come to this and they won't need to worry about it on election day? how should everyday voters be preparing for this world in which these are these new stringent requirements? >> voters should find out what the requirements are in their individual states. it varies from state to state. that's part of the confusion. i was on a panel recently with a secretary of state in west virginia who said she had vote s s in her state calling to say what are the voter id requirements in my state? that shows how confusing it is to voters. they need to find out what the requirements are in and do what they can to insure they're
9:26 pm
meeting the requirements because what we want is to insure that all voters have the right to vote, that they can exercise that right because that's what's most important, regardless of who they vote for, we want to insure every voter has the opportunity to exercise that right. find out what the requirements are and do what you can to meet them. >> thank you very much for being here. >> thank you, ezra. make no mistake, being on live television has a certain intrinsic level of risk to it. i mean, what if you forget how to read in the middle of a segment or you get a sneezing fit? once again tonight, we're going to push the risk to its intellectual limits to try to explain the nearly inexplainable on live national television in a way that makes sengs and please god, doesn't take a lot of time. the ezra klein challenge round three is next. [ male announcer ] how do you trade?
9:27 pm
with scottrader streaming quotes, any way you want. fully customize it for your trading process -- from thought to trade, on every screen. and all in real time. which makes it just like having your own trading floor, right at your fingertips. [ rodger ] at scottrade, seven dollar trades are just the start. try our easy-to-use scottrader streaming quotes. it's another reason more investors are saying... [ all ] i'm with scottrade. it's another reason more investors are saying... those little things for you, life's about her. but your erectile dysfunction - that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor
9:28 pm
about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or if you have any allergic reactions such as rash, hives, swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial.
9:29 pm
9:30 pm
it is a sad but true fact of american political life that not all scandals are created equal. some scandals get the benefit of a really awesome name. an awesome name like watergate. that was a scandal scandal, right? it had a great name, a sitting u.s. president, there were burglars, a break-in, hush money, wire taps. as far as scandals go, it pretty much had it all. it was such a good scandal that we appen the word gate to any
9:31 pm
scandal that happens, like the time the pen exploded in my pants, calling it pengate. that brings us to libor. a genuine scandal, a scandal scandal. a big deal, really bad behavior by really powerful people with real effect on not just the world but perhaps even on you. but also a really dull name. so you have heard of libor, right? a scandal that you skip past when you see it in the news because you're not interested in going to bed at that very moment. but liboris important, and it's actually kind of interesting. once i explain to you what it was and how it worked, you're going to be shocked we ever permitted the financial system to function in this way. i'm going to try to explain to you in three minutes or less why you should care about libor. what it is, even though it's been cursed with just about the worst name in thisry of
9:32 pm
scandals. isn't the challenge usually two minutes? it is, but i begged for three minutes tonight because, look, the thing is called libor. do we have the clock? we do have the clock. all right, ready, set, go. okay, what is libor. it is the london interbank offered rate. the london interbank offered rate. even though that sounds complicated, it's super simple. the rate that banks in london charge each other to borrow money. banks are pretty safe. the thing about them, almost the defining feature of them is they have a lot of money so they can pay you back. when they're paying high rates to lend to one another or charging high rates to lend to one another, it's really bad. it means things have gone so nuts that even banks aren't a safe bet to pay back anymore. if the libor rate isn't really low, it means situation fine, banks are confident about getting their money back from one another, as they should be.
9:33 pm
the rate the banks charge each other in london doesn't sound like it has anything to do with you, but it has everything to do with you. every day when banks in the u.s. are decided how much money to charge you for a mortgage, they use libor as the floor on that rate. they said it's the going rate for a loan with pretty much nor risk. that's where they begin, then they add your risk on top of libor. they build your rate on top of libor. so if libor is really high, you pay more for your mortgage than you would if it was low. that's why the scandal that is still breaking is important. if banks were intentionally manipulating libor, then the rate being charged for mortgages in the u.s. wasn't what it should have been. whether it was too high and you were getting ripped off or too low and the financial system was riskier than people thought it was, it's bad. there's always a second reason you should care about this. you might recall the period in the financial crisis when regulators were trying to figure out if the banks were strong enough to survive. 1 of the things they were
9:34 pm
looking at was libor. if it got too high, the system was on the branch and regulators had to jump in. what they were doing was manipulating the libor rate, possibly with the cooperation of certain regulators. why would they do that? so they wouldn't get regulated as hard. so the solution is lie to the regulators, make them think you're more stable than you are. here is, though, the crazy thing about libor. it was totally up to the banks. we just trusted whatever they said. and they were lying. and it seems that a lot of them were lying. it was an open secret among them that you lied about libor. libor is in the end a reminder of something by this point we should really know. you cannot trust the banks. you cannot trust self-regulation. it isn't going to work. all right, i have 20 seconds left. so not too bad. under three minutes for libor. now the next time you see
9:35 pm
libor in the news, you don't have to fall asleep on the spot. it's about what you're paying, how safe we thought the banking system was, and the upshot is don't trust these guys. also, you're going to be the life of your next cocktail party, i promise. eat good fats. avoid bad. don't go over 2000... 1200 calories a day. carbs are bad. carbs are good. the story keeps changing. so i'm not listening... to anyone but myself. i know better nutrition when i see it: great grains. great grains cereal starts whole and stays whole. see the seam? more processed flakes look nothing like natural grains. you can't argue with nutrition you can see. great grains. search great grains and see for yourself. for multi grain flakes that are an excellent source of fiber try great grains banana nut crunch
9:36 pm
and cranberry almond crunch. and so too is the summer event. now get an incredible offer on the powerful, efficient c250 sport sedan with an agility control sport-tuned suspension. but hurry before this opportunity...disappears. ♪ the mercedes-benz summer event ends july 31st. ♪
9:37 pm
mine was earned off vietnam in 1968. over the south pacific in 1943. i got mine in iraq, 2003. usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation. beuse it offers a superior level of protection, and because usaa's commitment to serve the military, veterans and their families is without equal. begin your legacy, get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve.
9:38 pm
i've got something kind of amazeing for you now. prepare to have your mind blown by numbers. really tiny small little numbers. these are the numbers on who exactly is funding our elections these days. arguably, these are the numbers on the people who are responsible, at least in large part, for who gets elected in this country. i'm tell you, you won't believe how small the numbers are. we're not talking about the top 1% of americans who control 40% of the country's wealth. when it comes to campaign spending, we're talking about small fractions of 1%. this chart shows about 68% of all donations. this amount of the total money in campaigns comes from 0.26% of the country. so fewer than two thirds of 1%
9:39 pm
of americans were responsible for more than two thirds of all the money spent in the 2010 election. how about this? here's about 25% of the money contributed to federal campaigns in 2010. about a quarter of the money came from 0.01% of americans. 1% of 1% of the country gave 25% of all the money spent in the last election cycle. as for this year's election in what's becoming the year of seemingly limitless spending, about 80% of the money raised by super pacs has come from 0.0 0.000063% of americans. four zeros after the decimal point. so democracy is being fueled by a teeny tiny fraction of the country, but there is a very real debate going on right now about whether the infamouss citizens united decision is even the problem, whether this is something new or something that was always true in the law. that debate came to capitol hill today when harvard law professor
9:40 pm
and cato institute senior fellofellow s appeared before the subcommittee on the constitution, civil rights, and human rights to talk about super pacs. now, this is something that actually kind of bugs me in washington. all day long on capitol hill, brilliant people are testifying before congressional committees on the key issueoffs the day, and there's really no good way for ordinary citizens who don't happen to be watching c-span at that right moment to hear what they have said. tonight, we asked the professors to join us and get to the bottom of the shockingly tiny numbers. joining us now, harvard law professor and author of what i think is the best book on election corruption, and editor and chief of the cato supreme court review. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> you argue that even if you're much more krned about the money
9:41 pm
spent by super pacs and other enttdys than you are, citizens united is thougnot the villain should be looking at, not the right court case to focus your attention on. can you explain that? >> all citizens united did was let corporations, unions, any group of people spend money on independent political speech. not donate to parties or candidates or campaigns but independently speak politically. you know who is taking advantage of that? unions, advocacy groups, not corporations. corporations are staying out because they don't want to piss off half of their consumers. >> first, is that right? second, if it is right, how did we get to the point where such a small fraction of the population is accountable for such a large amount of the money funding the elections? >> it is right that the most sigiant growth is coming from individuals who are participating, but it's not right to say that's not tied to citizens united. it started a cascade of decisions in the lower courts and then the fec to change the
9:42 pm
structure of what is now called the super pac. the super pac has become this super weapon for gathering large contributions and deploying them in political context. whenever you can get large contributions and don't have to go after smaller contributions, what campaign managers recognize is that it's more efficient to go after the bigger contributions. but that means is an ever shrinking percentage of americans who are going to be responsible for funding campaigns and that the gap between the people and the funders only grows even greater. >> so this is actually an interesting issue in what we're talking ability on a day to day basis is the constitutional architecture of how we fund elections. one of the arguments you make is that it is clear in the constitution and in the history around the constitution that the framers intended the politicians, our legislatures to be dependent on the people, not to be dependent on this other class of folks called funders.
9:43 pm
so the current situation is clearly unconstitutional or clearly at odds with framers' intent. and i was curious to hear your reaction to that, whether you think that's not the situation or whether or not there's a broader interpretation. >> no, the problem is you have this ungainly system because of a 1976 supreme court case, not citizens united, congress has allowed to cap contributions to candidates but not candidate spending. it's an unbalanced system and that's what forces campaigns to fund raise all the time and that's why we have this free spich on the independent side but candidates and campaigns are hampered so there's this instability. >> i think that's a huge point, right, because we talk all the time about citizens united. we don't talk a lot about buckley v. vuleo. the big idea floating around congress is the disclose act which wouldn't put limits on the
9:44 pm
amount of money anybody can pend in elections but would force a much more transparent disclosure. within that context, disclose wouldn't work because some of what we're worried about isn't just money that gets spent but money people threaten to spend. can you explain that? >> this is an argument made in the academic literature, a nice paper called the iceberg theory of contributions. pointing out that the contribution is hiding a much more larger threatened contribution to have its effect. but actually, evan buy made the point -- >> former senator from indiana. >> he said what everybody is worried about in indiana is that 30 days before an election, some super pac is going to come in and drop a million dollars on the other side. what do you do to protect yourself? you need to buy some super pac insurance. how do you buy super pac insurance? the assurance if somebody drops
9:45 pm
a bomb against you, you have someone willing to drop an equal or larger bomb? you have to pay your premium in advance? how do you do nat? you begin to behave today in a way that will encourage or cement the support you need from the super pac on your side to back you up when it comes time for you to be supported because the attack has come from the other side. so this is the economics of a protection racket, and the point is all of the effect is happening long before anybody spends one dollar and perfect disclosure of that effect, perfect dish closure could never begin to capture that because you could never discloche that. >> do you worry about that? you're right that corporations haven't radically increased their spending in this election, at least to my knowledge, but i hear in my reporting about lobbyists making this threat, particularly on smaller things that the public isn't watching, amendments and the like. do you worry about that power being exercised? >> first of all, campaign spending has been rising pretty
9:46 pm
steadily for decades. regardless of any particularly supreme court decisions or changes in the rules. as government grows and there's more things that people want to affect, they're going to spend money on it. i'm not concerned about it, i'm not concerned about super pacs. it's people getting together to pool their money. something like george soros or the koch brothers getting together, they have always bib able to do that. unless they say we waenlt to protectory seats so much we're going to stop independent individuals together or independent billionaires from spending their money on political speech, if that's what they want to do, that's scary to me in terms of protecting the first amendment. >> lawrence and ilya, thank you both so much for being here tonight. >> thank you. the best new thing in the world today is totally worth the wait. and it is coming up. approve thi. [romney singing]: oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
9:47 pm
for purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plain, america, america, god shed his grace on thee, and crowned thy good, with brotherhood... home protector plus, from liberty mutual insurance, where the costs to both repair your home and replace your possessions are covered. and we don't just cut a check for the depreciated value --
9:48 pm
we can actually replace your stuff with an exact or near match. plus, if your home is unfit to live in after an incident, we pay for you to stay somewhere else while it's being repaired. home protector plus, from liberty mutual insurance. because you never know what lies around the corner. to get a free quote, call... visit a local office, or go to today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
9:49 pm
time out. sweet. [ female announcer ] with charmin ultra soft, you can get that cushiony feeling while still using less. designed with extra cushions that are soft and more absorbent and you can use four times less. charmin ultra soft. with the idea of hybrid technology... it's already ingrained in our dna. during the golden opportunity sales event, get great values on some of our newest models. this is the pursuit of perfection.
9:50 pm
breaking and really good news for the obama for president campaign tonight. according to mr. obama's opponent in the upcoming election, the job creation for which a president should be held responsible is somewhere between pretty damned good and just about spectacular. here's mitt romney being interviewed by larry kudlow last night on cnbc. >> we ought to give whichever
9:51 pm
president is going to be elected at least six months or a year to get those policies in place. >> okay. so according to mitt romney, a president implementing pro-growth, pro-jobs policies in the face of economic difficulty should be given six months or a year before those policies are judged. that seems perfectly sensible, actually. and it's an important frame of reference, right? now, governor romney has been arguing a different standard for quite some time about president obama. the president, mr. romney says, has presided over net job losses in his term, which mr. romney has said, should be judged from february 2009. not to state the obvious, but the whole world was pretty much falling apart in february of 2009, and yes that included the job market. we lost around 700,000 jobs that month alone. but there is good news for president obama. using romney's new measure, this is what the jobs record looks like since mr. obama's inauguration. this one does not include
9:52 pm
romney's new measure it's not that good. the lighter blue bar shows the negative numbers for the course of his presidency. however, thanks to romney's most recently declared standard of judgment, the one where he says it takes six months to a year to see the effect of new policies, mr. obama looks much, much better. see what happens if you give him a six-month grace period, voila, nearly 3 million jobs created since then and more than 3 million in the private sector. so take mr. romney up on his the "or year" part o on six months or a year, and the president's case for re-election looks pretty sturdy. now it's more than 4 million private sector jobs created, which is not bad at all, in fact, it's close to spectacular, fairly rare job growth. in a fact-based world, both presidential campaigns would agree that during the period when president obama -- when the president's policies were in effect, there was significant job growth. maybe you want it faster or slower, but it was there. and there would be more arguments about what could be done to make those numbers even better, and then the american people would vote on the choice
9:53 pm
before them. i recommend that you stay tuned for more arguments that the stimulus the didn't work, that president obama's been a job destroyer, and other arguments based -- well, let's be polite and say, not based in the evidentiary facts and standards now agreed upon by both sides. my volt is the best vehicle i've ever driven. i bought the car because of its efficiency. i bought the car because i could eliminate gas from my budget. i don't spend money on gasoline. it's been 4,000 miles since my last trip to the gas station. it's pretty great. i get a bunch of kids waving at me... giving me the thumbs up. it's always a gratifying experience. it makes me feel good about my car. i absolutely love my chevy volt. ♪ and i thought "i can't do this, it's just too hard."
9:54 pm
then there was a moment. when i decided to find a way to keep going. go for olympic gold and go to college too. [ male announcer ] every day we help students earn their bachelor's or master's degree for tomorrow's careers. this is your moment. let nothing stand in your way. devry university, proud to support the education of our u.s. olympic team. with less chronic osteoarthritis pain. imagine living your life with less chronic low back pain. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help. cymbalta is fda-approved to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain. one non-narcotic pill a day, every day, can help reduce this pain. tell your doctor right away if your mood worsens, you have unusual changes in mood or behavior or thoughts of suicide. antidepressants can increase these in children, teens, and young adults. cymbalta is not approved for children under 18. people taking maois or thioridazine or with uncontrolled glaucoma should not take cymbalta. taking it with nsaid pain relievers, aspirin,
9:55 pm
or blood thinners may increase bleeding risk. severe liver problems, some fatal, were reported. signs include abdominal pain and yellowing skin or eyes. tell your doctor about all your medicines, including those for migraine and while on cymbalta, call right away if you have high fever, confusion and stiff muscles or serious allergic skin reactions like blisters, peeling rash, hives, or mouth sores to address possible life-threatening conditions. talk about your alcohol use, liver disease and before you reduce or stop dizziness or fainting may occur upon standing. ask your doctor about cymbalta. imagine you with less pain. cymbalta can help. go to to learn about a free trial offer. begins with back pain and a choice. take advil, and maybe have to take up to four in a day. or take aleve, which can relieve pain all day with just two pills. good eye. [ feedback ] attention, well, everyone. you can now try snapshot from progressive free for 30 days.
9:56 pm
just plug this into your car, and your good driving can save you up to 30%. you could even try it without switching your insurance. why not give it a shot? carry on. now you can test-drive snapshot before you switch. visit today. past four days of news out of colorado has been really awful. it has been, unbelievably sad. but today we got just a small taste of relief from the sadness. a small sweet taste. an uplifting reminder that even in the wake of national tragedies, people really do get better sometimes and the nation, however slowly, can find a way to heal. this is former congresswoman gabriel giffords with her arms around her husband, astronaut marc kelly. they're definitely not in tucson, not wearing all of that snow gear, because today, more
9:57 pm
than 18 months after she was shot in the head by a gunman outside a supermarket in her arizona district, today miss giffords was standing on top of a mountain in the french alps, which is amazing. even if she still uses a wheelchair much of the time and had to ride a cable car to get there, she made it, to the alps. captain kelly told reporters, quote, gabby is really enjoying this visit, this is a great day for us. they were there with other astronauts to visit a mountain research station and to install a plaque commemorating the final space shuttle mission. the perfect occasion for giffords' first trip outside the u.s. since the tucson incident, in which six people were killed and the perfect photos to lift our hearts after yet another horrible mass shooting. the best new thing in the world today. that does it for us tonight. now it is time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." the new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll shows that mitt romney's lies about president obama are not working. >> politics is back in the mud
9:58 pm
pit. >> back to the campaign trail, and back on the attack. >> this is a big election. >> earlier today, governor romney was at it again. >> it's a choice. >> mitt romney will speak to the veterans of foreign wars. >> general mitt romney. >> the 21st century can and must be an american century. >> general in this case is an armchair general. >> he has not been specific. >> it's our duty to steer it under the path of freedom and peace and prosperity. >> obama's foreign policy has been much stronger than anticipated by conservatives. >> democrats are supposedly weak. >> the united states has conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden. >> i am not ashamed of american power. >> earlier today, governor romney was at it again. >> there you go again. >> good morning! this is what victory looks like! >> michele bachmann finally has company. >> ha-ha! >> newt gingrich is defending michele bachmann. >> newt gingrich rushes to defend her in her charge -- >> against secretary of state clinton's top aide, huma abedin.
9:59 pm
>> that radical muslims may have infiltrated the united states government. >> "there weren't allegations, there was a question." >> what was that about? >> i think he's off-base. >> bachmann's inquiry is justified. >> if they were not making an accusation about her, what was her name doing in that letter? >> how long can they sustain this? >> this is what victory looks like! >> see the world that we're living in here! >> oh, my goodness! yes! tonight, a just-released nbc news/"wall street journal" poll shows president obama widening his lead over mitt romney, among registered voters nationally. president obama leads mitt romney by six points, 49 to 43%. last month president obama led mitt romney by three points among registered voters. in the 12 swing states most likely to determine the outcome of the election, president obama now leads mitt romney by eight


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on